Monthly Archives: September 2012

Are squirrels street smart?

squirrels and blue jays run away

Here at the edge of the wood we notice that all the animals have a super human/super hero sense of what is around them. The squirrels are in tune with the woods. They know the comings and goings of their neighbors, especially the predators. Are they completely defenseless? The California ground squirrel can heat up its tail, wave it in face of a predator that hunts with infrared, and confuse it (think snakes). This allows time for a Ninja-like get away. Scientists Aaron Rundus and Donald Owings said after making this discovery, “It taught us to focus on the perceptual world of the animal… rather than thinking only of human perceptions.” Thus, thinking like a squirrel may one day save you from a snake. Here they are among the new rhododendron flowers having a frisky morning.

Squirrels and the Presidency

Blue Squirrel

Here at the edge of the wood we have come to realize squirrels  seem to love a good park, well, who doesn’t? The White House sits at the center of an 82 acre park. The very special squirrels who live there have had a profound relationship with many presidents. For a detailed essay please go to Julie Feinstein’s wonderful blog Urban Wildlife Guide. To sum it up: George H.W. Bush and George W Bush let the dogs chase them, thumbs down! Eisenhower  tried to trap and release them for the sake of his putting green, which Congress used to paint him as a wildlife hater. Thumbs down! Warren G Harding, Harry Truman, Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton…thumbs up! They all fed and/ or studied the squirrels. So we notice that kindness to squirrels can be bipartisan. Maybe the Congress and the President should get together on the South Lawn, feed the squirrels and get some work done. The squirrels would be happy to consult.

***special addition: News for Squirrels gives us some extra history on the Taft White House Squirrels**** This is a big topic!

Are Squirrels Foodies?

squirrel and strawberry meet

We notice the marked preference the squirrels have for some foods. Some love the nuts, some the dried fruit, some are mesmerized by strawberries.  A gray squirrel is far more likely to bury a red-oak acorn, which is rich in fat, but a little bit bitter, than eat  a white-oak acorn immediately, which is much sweeter, according to Dr Peter Smallwood. Does this mean squirrels have a sweet tooth? Well, we at the edge of the wood are just going to peel back the wrapper of a squirrel nut zipper and think about that.

Is this a squirrel flash mob?

Fern and squirrels

Here at the edge of the wood we notice the word goes out across the forest when we fill up the feeder. The Blue Jays are the first to call out, then the squirrels can be heard chirping with excitement. Is this the origins of the flash mob? We need to research. In the meantime, thank you Chloe Jo for the shout out this morning, and welcome to all our fellow GirlieGirl Army readers. The squirrels are enjoying the lush New York ferns, and the rich yellow goldenrod.

When is a squirrel like a bat?

Squirrels and Grackles chat it up

Here at the feeder we love to watch everyone interact. We find these encounters quite complex, and we wonder what is truly going on. It has been found that squirrels can communicate via ultrasound on a frequency higher than human hearing just like bats. So while the squirrels, chipmunk and grackle look as if they are having an awkward social moment, they might actually discussing the upcoming Warhol retrospective at the Met surrounded by newly flowering phlox.